Wednesday, August 31, 2011


© 2011 Joshua Stark

You may have noticed that I've put up a list of what's in season right now for foraging, hunting and fishing.  Homesteaders should most definitely understand their local conditions and learn to recognize the bounty of their region's wild plants, fish and game.  This list is a general description, information I'm gathering from friends and the news.  Your neighborhood, I can almost guarantee, is going to be slightly different from the list. 

One reason for this difference is microclimates: ecological niches that so dramatically shift light patterns, temperatures, humidity, etc., that they effectively create climatic conditions different from the surrounding area.  In California, microclimates can be extreme (due to the wildly varying topography, ocean influences, and other factors), but for practical purposes, a microclimate can be as small as the length of a wall.

More intensive gardening, especially in small spaces, can be greatly enhanced by understanding light and shadow patterns and windbreaks on your property, and matching plants and watering regimens to these patterns, rather than relying on the general assumptions of seed company descriptions.  And this eye toward recognizing the influences of geography, direction, wind, and moisture can also help your local foraging efforts. 

Recognizing niches that vary growing conditions in your neighborhood may lead to pleasant surprises, usually by extending "shoulder" seasons - the weeks on either end of a particular plant's harvest time.  Greens, berries, and root veggies are all especially affected by microclimates because they tend to be low-growing and hardy plants, able to survive in wildly varying conditions (the same characteristics that also make them pests, at times). 

If it is at all helpful to you, come back from time to time and see what is in season, or will be, soon.  Definitely use the list while keeping an eye out in your own neck of the woods, especially during the shoulder seasons.  You may find a treat.

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